When a person is killed because of a person's negligence, their surviving family members may have grounds to sue. Individual people, companies as well as the government can be sued for a wrongful death claim. Surviving family members can bring a suit for many different types of wrongful deaths including car accidents and medical malpractice.

The surviving family members (and non-family members) who have right to sue vary from state to state. However, in all states, spouses, minor children and parents of single children have a right to sue. Other states allow brother and sisters to sue. Some states allow people who have suffered financial damage to sue as well, regardless of their familial relationship with the victim. A handful of states allow people to sue for the wrongful death of an unborn child, even a very early-stage fetus.

The compensation for wrongful death isn't just about paying survivors because someone died. The compensation is supposed to correspond with specific damages. People who sue for wrongful death are compensated for funeral costs, lost wages and loss of companionship. This also means that if the death of the victim did not cause any damages then the plaintiff will not likely win their case. For example, if the deceased had a family but never worked then the family suffered no loss of wages. If the deceased was having an affair, the defense could offer that the surviving spouse and already suffered a loss of companionship.

You can also read more at http://www.ehow.com/how_2053885_choose-personal-injury-lawyer.html. The amount surviving family members are awarded has a lot to do with who the victim was. If the victim was an older person, family members will get a lot less in compensation because of the victim's advanced age. In the eye of the court, you must take into consideration how much life the person had left. How much money the victim made is also taken into account. A family that loses a mother who was bringing in 500,000 dollars annually suffers a greater financial loss than a family who loses a breadwinner bringing in 20,000. For some it can be hard to imagine calculating people's lives in such a manner but it is the only way to have some semblance of fairness.


If you are dealing with the loss of a family member and are considering filing a wrongful death claim, it is important you speak to these attorneys, even if you are not sure. Don't try to figure out if you have a case before consulting a wrongful death attorney. Let them decide that for you.